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Page last updated at 20:10 GMT, Wednesday, 28 July 2010 21:10 UK

European Athletics: Lemaitre beats Chambers in 100m

European Athletics Championships 2010
Venue: Barcelona Dates: 27 July - 1 August
Coverage: Watch live on BBC HD, BBC One, BBC Two and BBC Sport website (UK users only); Live coverage on BBC Radio 5 live; Full highlights on iPlayer and highlights of the biggest events on demand online (UK only) Full details

Mark Lewis-Francis

Lemaitre storms to 100m victory

Dwain Chambers missed out on a medal as Frenchman Christophe Lemaitre won the European Championships 100m, with Mark Lewis-Francis taking silver.

Chambers was joint-favourite for gold but after making a fast start he tied up towards the end and finished fifth.

Lemaitre, 20, crossed the line in 10.11 seconds, 0.07s ahead of Lewis-Francis and Frenchman Martial Mbandjock.

Portugal's defending champion Francis Obikwelu - in fourth - and Chambers were also given the time of 10.18.

Lewis-Francis said: "I was told I wouldn't make the final. I'm so happy."

CLOSE FINISH
1st - Lemaitre (10.107 secs)
2nd - Lewis-Francis (10.172)
3rd - Mbandjock (10.173)
4th - Obikwelu (10.174)
5th - Chambers (10.178)

It was Britain's third medal of the championships and came only after a photo-finish confirmed Lewis-Francis had finished ahead of Mbandjock by 1/1000th of a second.

"Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose but I'm happy for Mark, he has had to fight hard to get here," Chambers told BBC Sport.

"I had to rely on my experience, which kept me relaxed, but it wasn't enough to win. I've just got to keep ploughing on at it until my opportunity prevails."

With so much pressure on him going into the championships as the fastest man in Europe, Lemaitre showed he can cope on the big stage with a composed performance in Barcelona.

He did not make the best of starts but finished strongly to win by a couple of metres as the next four produced a blanket finish for the podium places.

"After a brilliant year my objective was gold," said Lemaitre, who will be a strong favourite to add the 200m title when the final takes place on Friday.

Dwain Chambers

Chambers gracious in defeat

"I didn't get a good start but I was able to pick my speed up well. I fought hard and it is a great feeling to be champion."

Lewis-Francis was hailed as the future of British sprinting when he won the world junior title in 2000, and he anchored the British 4x100m relay team to a surprise gold medal at the Athens Olympics in 2004.

But the 27-year-old has struggled with injuries in recent seasons, missing the entire 2008 campaign with a torn Achilles tendon, and lost his lottery funding at the end of last year.

"For all the knocks I have taken this is the biggest comeback ever and the biggest boost," said Lewis-Francis.

"It is a new beginning, this is the rebuilding of Mark Lewis-Francis. I hope I have answered some of the critics."

Watched by coach Linford Christie in the stadium where Christie won Olympic gold in 1992, Lewis-Francis added: "Linford was my inspiration from when I was a kid. To be coached by him is an honour, he motivated me all the way through my races."

Mark Lewis-Francis

Lewis-Francis delighted to silence critics

And Christie himself said: "I knew something special would happen, it was just a matter of getting him out there."

Chambers won the European title in 2002 but had to hand back his gold medal when he tested positive for steroids a year later, and he vowed to bounce back from Wednesday's disappointment.

"I was just glad to be a part of it. It's been a struggle to get here, you can't win them all and I did the best I could," he said.

"Of course I mind [missing a medal]. I am disappointed but I got myself here - life goes on."

The first final of the evening session saw Croatia's Sandra Perkovic earn glory in the discus with a throw of 64.67m.

Romania's Nicoleta Grasu was just over a metre behind as she took silver, while Poland's Joanna Wisniewska was third.

TOM FORDYCE'S BLOG

In the women's long jump Latvia's Ineta Radevica was a shock winner as she took the gold ahead of Portugal's Naide Gomes and Russia's Olga Kucherenko.

Radevica and Gomes both recorded jumps of 6.92m but the Latvian's next longest leap of 6.87m was superior to the 6.68m of the Portuguese.

Former heptathlon Olympic gold medallist Carolina Kluft struggled to a disappointing 11th place with a jump of 6.33m.

The women's 10,000m was comprehensively won by Turkey's Elvan Abeylegesse, who earned the country's first-ever European Championships gold medal.

Russia's reigning champion Inga Abitova took the silver while Portugal's Jessica Augusto finished third.

In the men's hammer final Slovakia's Libor Charfreitag pipped Italy's Nicola Vizzoni to the gold with Krisztián Pars of Hungary taking bronze.

Wednesday's timetable and results in full from European Athletics

Latest medal table



LATEST FROM:
UK Athletics
Updated: 20 September 2014 19:49

see also
European Athletics photos
28 Jul 10 |  Athletics
Farah storms to Euro 10,000m gold
27 Jul 10 |  Athletics
British duo through to 400m final
28 Jul 10 |  Athletics
Chambers reaches 100m semi-finals
27 Jul 10 |  Athletics
Euro Champs day-by-day guide
26 Jul 10 |  Athletics
Euro Athletics predictions
26 Jul 10 |  Athletics
Athletics on the BBC
21 Apr 11 |  Athletics
Ennis wants to lead GB gold rush
26 Jul 10 |  Athletics


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